With so many different college options, how do I choose the right type of school for me?
This is a very common question, and the answer is a personal one: the type of school you ultimately decide to attend depends entirely on what you are looking for in a college. From 4-year private universities to community colleges, there is a wide range of schools for you to choose from, and each type of school has its own benefits.
There are many, many factors that can lead you to select one type of school over another that are often not considered. For example, do you want to stay close to home? Maybe the best options near your home are state schools and community colleges. Attending a state school as an in-state resident will allow you to save a good amount of money; not only will you have the lower state resident tuition, but you will also be eligible for state-granted aid.
Attending a community college for the first year or two of your college career is another valid option. Community college allows you to get your introductory courses and credits taken care of at a lower cost, and it also primes you for a transfer to a 4-year institution to finish your junior and senior years. Make sure your credits will transfer if you choose this route!
Perhaps you want to study something specific and the best options for your course of study are 4-year private colleges; or maybe your absolute dream school just happens to be a private college. Private colleges and universities will provide you with a great educational experience, but at a premium: private universities are the most expensive schools out there, so be sure your decision is financially viable if you should choose to go to a private institution. On the plus side, private institutions often have large endowments, which means they have the ability to give their students excellent financial aid packages–so don’t discount a private institution based on the sticker-price before exploring its financial aid options.
No matter what type of school you attend, you can get a superior education. I’ve often heard people, while discussing colleges, say something along these lines: “It’s not all about what school you go to – it’s what you make of it. The more effort you put in to your education, the more you’ll get out of it.” There’s a lot of truth to this, so put in your time and take advantage of the opportunity to get a great education.
The College Search
- College Selection, Parents & College on the Cheap
- Don't Choose on Sticker Price
- How Do I Choose the Right School for Me?
- Finding the Right College
- Finding the Right Fit in a College
- Keeping the College Doors Open
- Lessons Learned About the College Process for Six Children
- Lessons Learned on the First Year of College Costs
- Setting the Parameters in the College Search Process
- When should I start looking at schools?